03/01/2012 03:49 EST | Updated 05/01/2012 05:12 EDT

New Brunswick environment minister moves to energy in cabinet shuffle

FREDERICTON - New Brunswick Premier David Alward has shuffled his cabinet.

Margaret-Ann Blaney will leave her post as environment minister to become energy minister, taking over for Craig Leonard.

Leonard will lead the newly created Department of Government Services.

In January, the Opposition Liberals called for Leonard to be removed from energy after he said he would no longer comment on natural gas issues because it could be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Leonard's sister recently became a lobbyist for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and before that she was a civil servant helping the province develop shale gas regulations.

At the time, the premier's office said Leonard was not in a conflict as energy minister.

The Departments of Environment and Local Government will be amalgamated and led by Bruce Fitch.